Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pig Candy

I was not looking forward to being presented with anything called, "Pig Candy" and then having to disappoint the hostess of the Sweet Potato Queen Party by dismissing the dish as Something-I-Don't-Eat.

Wow. Color me wrong.

It happened a few months ago. My nice little MOMS Club group decided to make The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner) their book club selection for the month. These women were seriously headed off the map. Or so I thought. I went along smiling. I even read the book. Or rather, I skimmed the book. To explain; my natural disdain for all things southern is rooted in my love affair with New Orleans. It ended badly. With a divorce and a hurricane. I try to avoid all things southern so as not to relive any of the anguish. I watched New Orleans taken apart in a natural disaster of historic proportion while receiving a blood transfusion days before my youngest daughter was born. There's something about being physically situated between two cancer patients, watching non-stop CNN, with a large IV dripping someone else's blood into your vein for eleven hours and waiting for the deadly transfusion reaction coupled with the emergency C-section you are about to have and knowing that you are in it alone.....crap. OK. Back to Pig Candy. I didn't want to participate. I like being this far north. I know which side of the war-of-northern-aggression I would have been rooting for (had I been alive.)

The book wasn't enough. They had to have a party. They wanted everyone to wear boas. Again with the disdain for all things Mardi Gras. I went because my dear friend Mollie was going. I went because I wanted to bring a vegetable. I went because, deep down, I kind of hate myself. I went because I thought I could do it and maybe even have a good time.

We walked into Sherri's kitchen and smelled something sweet. Something fatty.

"Wait till you try the Pig Candy!" Sherri overflows with joy just sitting still in a chair. This notion of Pig Candy was really lighting her up even more than usual. I was intimidated. And dressed normally. Mollie had on an evening gown and a boa. She put on lipstick. I wanted to run away.

Sherri's table was overflowing with all of the things I don't eat. Sticky, sweet, fatty, cheesy, messy, now-I-have-to-buy-spanx food. I'm a thin woman. I don't eat these things.

OK, I'll shut up now. I gained five pounds that night and loved every moment of it.

I tried the Pig Candy and declared, in a loud southern accent, "This is on my last-meal-plate! With instructions to contact Sherri for the EXACT recipe!!!"

Maybe it was that sweet thing that Andrea kept pouring in my glass, but the more Pig Candy I ate, the funnier Mollie got. We ate. We ate and ate and ate. Mollie exclaimed, "I'm going to need you to come over later and cut me out of my spanx....if you hear an explosion, you'll know I popped them!"

I could not stop laughing. I love jokes about spanx on any random Monday afternoon, but surrounded by white suburban mid western middle class half drunk stay at home moms, I was inconsolable.

I can't even remember what else was there for food. I only remember the Pig Candy.

I only love the Pig Candy.

Sometimes, when I'm bored, or I can't sleep, I think of the Pig Candy. The women who made the Pig Candy for the first time are a party waiting to happen. In fact, as part of my how-to-survive program, I have re-imagined the transfusion day with the Sweet Potato Queens there with me in the drip...drip....drip.....CNN/nightmare. What a happy memory that would have been. A bloody freaking party.

Here's the recipe for Pig Candy. And I make this disclaimer my friend; please do not make the Pig Candy just because you want to. Please do not eat the Pig Candy in passing, or standing up. Please respect the pig candy. And most of all, respect the Sweet Potato Queens. We should all be so lucky to have such friends. Wait. I am that lucky.

"Pig Candy recipe;
You start with bacon - and don't y'all just know how I purely love a recipe that starts with bacon. The fat is the whole point of the bacon. If you're interested in the red part, get a ham or something. I mean, really.
So anyway, you start with bacon, and the only other ingredient is brown sugar - and do I really need to say the dark brown kind? You just roll the bacon in the dark brown sugar and then you bake it (at 350 F. for about 20 minutes or so, depending on your oven and also how you like your bacon - put it on a rack on a cookie sheet, and you don't even have to turn it over!) - and voy-ola! Pig Candy!"

It's easy. But not so easy. It's an experience. You might want to go buy the spanx first.